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SPRULE
Rule for linking spouse

Codes

00 = No spouse or partner of this person in the household.

Description

SPRULE is a constructed variable that indicates the method by which the probable spouse/partner link shown in SPLOC was identified.

The IPUMS family interrelationship variables address two types of ambiguity when forming links. First, we prioritize links based on how clear the relationship is between the two people being linked. Second, we use a series of logical steps to select between multiple potential spouses. SPRULE is a two digit variables that show how these two types of ambiguity were addressed when forming a spousal link. The first digit indicates how direct the relationship is between the two people and the second digit indicates if the link was selected among multiple options and, if so, how it was selected.

We first prioritize links within a household based how clear the relationship is between the two people being linked (using RELATE). The priority of the link is captured in the first digit of SPRULE. Except for links between a householder and an unmarried partner, a person must be "married, spouse present" according to MARST in order to have a non-zero value for SPLOC.

Direct links:
Spouse rule value: 1-

  • Householder to Spouse
  • Parent to Parent
  • Housemate to Housemate
  • Roomer to Roomer
  • Non-relative to Non-relative
2nd level links
Spouse rule value: 2-

  • Householder to Partner
3rd level links
Spouse rule value: 3-

  • Other relative to Child, Sibling, Other relative, Grandchild
  • Nonrelative to Roomer, Housemate
4th level links
Spouse rule value: 4-

  • Householder to Other relative, Non-relative
  • Child to Child
  • Grandchild to Grandchild
  • Unknown to Housemate, Roomer
  • Sibling to Sibling

While the first step to finding a spouse link is based on their relationship to the reference person, this may not enough to uniquely determine the link. It is not uncommon for a person to be in a household where there are multiple people who could be their spouse. To be able to select among multiple potential links, we apply a set of logical steps within each priority level that selects among multiple potential links. This information is captured in the second digit of SPRULE.

SPLOC first links couples, both same-sex and opposite-sex, where there is only one potential spouse or partner. These links are the clearest, because there is only one possible spouse/partner to link to. The SPRULE will have a second digit of 1 to show that the household composition made this pairing very clear. In households where there are multiple potential spouses, opposite-sex links are prioritized over same-sex links. When there is only one opposite-sex potential spouse/partner, the second digit of SPRULE is a 2. When there are multiple potential opposite-sex spouses, relative age is used to pair up spouses. When there are two people of the same age, location in the household is used as a "tie breaker." These links will be denoted with a 3 and 4 on the second digit of SPRULE, respectively, to indicate the ambiguity of the link. Households that contain multiple same-sex couples are paired as the last logical step, again using relative age and location in the household to determine who will pair together.

Clarity level 1
Spouse rule value: -1

  • There is only one potential spouse or partner (including both same-sex and opposite-sex spouse/partners)
Clarity level 2
Spouse rule value: -2

  • There is only one potential opposite-sex spouse or partner.
Clarity level 3
Spouse rule value: -3

  • When there are multiple possible opposite-sex spouse/partner possibilities, relative age is used to pair up spouses.
Clarity level 4
Spouse rule value: -4

  • When multiple possible opposite-sex spouse/partner possibilities but there are two people of the same age or age otherwise does not allow a clear link, location in the household is used as a "tie breaker".
Clarity level 5
Spouse rule value: -5

  • When there are multiple same-sex couples in a household, again use relative age to determine who will pair together.
Clarity level 6
Spouse rule value: -6

  • If there are multiple same-sex couples in a household and there are two people of the same age or age otherwise does not allow a clear link, location in the household is used as a "tie breaker."

The two steps together determine the value of SPRULE. For example, in a household consisting of a householder, a married female child, and a married male other relative, the daughter and male other relative will be linked in priority 3 during clarity level 1. SPRULE would therefore be 31.

In 2016, the family interrelationship variables for all samples were revised to increase comparability across IPUMS projects and include same-sex couples. Many researchers who are familiar with the previous version of family interrelationship variables will find it useful to read a brief overview of the key differences of the New IPUMS Family Interrelationship Variables.

The pre-2016 version of SPLOC, SPRULE, and other IPUMS family interrelationship variables are available here.

Comparability

Due to variation in the information available for identifying probable spouse and partner locations, there are some differences across years. For example, in March 1995 "unmarried partner" became an option for RELATE. Prior to this, links between unmarried householders and partners are not allowed.

Comparability with IPUMS-USA

The development of new family interrelationship variables was prompted by the desire to have more comparability between different IPUMS projects and over time. Each project has different allowed links because of different level of detail in each project, but the logic of assigning spouses in ambiguous situations is the same.

Universe

  • 1962-1967 (ASEC only): Persons age 14+ (pre-1968 samples do not include persons under age 14).
  • 1968-2017 (ASEC only): All persons.
  • January 1976-December 2018 (non-ASEC): All persons.

Availability

Years Jan Feb ASEC Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1962 – 1975 - - X - - - - - - - - - -
1976 – 2017 X X X X X X X X X X X X X
2018 X X - X X X X X - - - - -

Flags

This variable has no flags.